T-Mobile Embraces New Unlimited Data Plans, But There Is A Catch

In the past four years, T-Mobile has gone from being considered an industry joke (at least compared to carriers such as Verizon and AT&T) to leading the industry with groundbreaking plans, all while providing good coverage. According to Ars Technica, T-Mobile has decided to do away with all their tiered data plans.

“T-Mobile USA has announced a $70 unlimited data plan, but in reality the plan has a lot of limits. And T-Mobile said it will stop offering cheaper plans to new customers. The $70 unlimited ‘T-Mobile One’ plan caps hotspot usage to 2G speeds, which T-Mobile defines as up to 128kbps. Normal-speed mobile hotspot usage will cost $15 for each 5GB allotment”

T-Mobile Data T-Mobile will cap data usage on your “unlimited data” iPhone plan if you use too much data. [Image via Daryl Deino]

The article adds that the new unlimited plan also throttles video to 480p. On the new unlimited plan, customers who want HD video must pay an extra $25 a month per line. If you use more than 26GB a month, prepared to be throttled even more. In a Reddit thread about the new changes, many T-Mobile customers aren’t happy.

“F**k! It’s like we went back 5 years. Okay time to move back to AT&T or something. The only reason I was putting up with their sh***y network was because of the prices, but if this is a sign of things to come then f**k it!” exclaims Memoryfailure.

“So the ‘uncarrier’ is looking more and more like just a regular carrier,” says JillyBeef.

There is some disappointment on Twitter as well.

There seems to be some confusion over whether or not old T-Mobile plans are grandfathered. It’s important to note, however, that cellular carriers have to concentrate their business more on data than cellular talk usage. Just eight years ago, talk minutes were the most important aspect of cellular service, with data being secondary. Now, many who use email or texting as their primary form of communication can get by all day without even talking on their phones. T-Mobile fans may be angry, but they are still getting a good deal when compared to other carriers.

T-Mobile Un-carrier
T-Mobile was the first to offer "Un-carrier" plans and changed the industry in doing so. [Photo by Diane Bondareff/AP Images]

Whether or not you like T-Mobile, they are a groundbreaking company. In 2013, they were the first to offer the “Un-carrier” plan, which allows one to be free from two-year contracts. However, one also has to pay full-price for a phone, but they are able to make it in payments. The only thing a customer is responsible for when switching to a new carrier is the money owed on their particular phone. This was one of the things that led CNN Money to declare that T-Mobile was the tech company of the year in 2014.

“But no other tech company shook up its entire industry the way that T-Mobile did this year. Because of T-Mobile’s actions in 2014, wireless carriers have fallen over one another trying to cut prices. Sprint offered to halve your bill, Verizon and AT&T lowered rates while offering more data for your dollar, and you can now get a smartphone for $0 down at any carrier.”

The article added that for the first time in what seems like forever, there was finally real competition in the industry. T-Mobile was also able to carry some smartphones days before they hit Verizon or Sprint. For example, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 was available at T-Mobile four days before it hit Verizon and Sprint in 2013. T-Mobile has gone from being a last-place follower to an industry leader, and their new poorly received “unlimited” plans probably won’t change that.

[Photo by Ron Wurzer/AP Images]